Review: Petite Messe Solenelle, Eye Church

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Rossini’s work is not little, solemn or a Mass; but a feast of pleasures.

Under Leslie Olive’s direction, Eye Bach Choir seemed to pick up on the benign spirit of the composer. Their Kyrie had a sweet sanctity, holiness with happiness, accompanied by Jonathan Rutherford’s tripping piano.

The concert had piano and keyboard (Suzanne Vandenberghe) rather than an orchestra. Standing in at short notice, tenor Nico Darmanin let fly in operatic style in the Domine Deus – a star performance.

A lachrymose duet, by soprano Fiona Campbell and contralto Jane Haughton, with a rippling piano, built to an enervating end. The same could be said for bass Dhilan Gnanadurai’s solo, starting grim and ending in hope.

The choir’s Cum Sancto Spiritu was like a canter through a sun-kissed landscape. Fiona Campbell’s Crucifixus was sung like a love aria.

The romantically operatic elements of the work were given full expression. Renowned gourmet Rossini would have enjoyed the feast.